Trojans Double Up Wildcats 42-21
Oct. 8, 2005
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Another lackluster start for No. 1 USC ended up in a victory that took more time than expected.
LenDale White scored four touchdowns, rushed for 179 yards and USC beat Arizona 42-21 Saturday for its 27th consecutive victory.
Playing at the Coliseum for the second time this season, the Trojans (5-0, 3-0 Pac-10) also won their school-record 23rd home game.
Dwayne Jarrett added two touchdowns for the Trojans, who hit the road again for their next two games, including next week at Notre Dame.
White and Reggie Bush, who had 110 yards, each ran for 100-plus yards for the third consecutive game. Steve Smith added seven catches for 134 yards.
After rallying from an 18-point halftime deficit at Arizona State and a 13-point first-half deficit at Oregon the last two weeks, the Trojans again looked stagnant early against the Wildcats (1-4, 0-2).
USC owned a huge statistical advantage, but Arizona gave the Trojans fits most of the game despite being 38 1/2-point underdogs, the largest spread in college football this week.
The Trojans piled up 724 yards in total offense to Arizona's 245, but it wasn't reflected in the easy victory that 90,221 fans had expected. The Wildcats trailed by a touchdown entering the fourth quarter.
The Trojans failed to clean up the penalties that had plagued them the previous two weeks. They were penalized six times for 60 yards in the game.
Arizona kicker Danny Baugher put the Trojans in poor field position most of the first half, averaging 46 yards a punt and keeping leading rusher Bush from returning any punts in the game.
Leading 35-21 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, USC's Collin Ashton tipped Richard Kovalcheck's pass to Ryan Ting, who intercepted it and stopped the Wildcats' last scoring threat on USC's 6-yard line.
USC's Matt Leinart was 26-of-40 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and one interception before being replaced by John David Booty with 6:22 remaining.
Kovalcheck completed 16-of-25 passes for 181 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Arizona's Syndric Steptoe returned five kickoff returns for 159 yards. Mike Thomas led Arizona with four catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
The Trojans dominated the fourth quarter, getting touchdowns on a 29-yard run by Jarrett and a 6-yard run by White.
USC came out strong with a 2-yard touchdown run by White to start the second half for a 21-7 lead.
But the Wildcats answered with their longest scoring play of the season, a 42-yard pass from Kovalcheck to Thomas, to trail 21-14.
White's second 1-yard TD of the game kept USC ahead 28-14.
Arizona got within a touchdown on Kovalcheck's 1-yard pass to Gilbert Harris at 1:47 of the third. Steptoe's 76-yard kickoff return to the USC 22 set up the score.
USC took a 14-7 lead into halftime when Jarrett caught a 22-yard pass from Leinart at 1:17 of the second.
The Trojans scored on their first drive of the game, when White ran in from 1 yard at 9:12.
The Wildcats were forced to punt on their first two possessions, then Michael Johnson recovered a fumble by USC's Desmond Reed. They capped a five-play, 56-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kovalcheck to Brad Wood that tied the game 7-7 with 7 seconds left in the first quarter.